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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies


Jamie Shepherd 
Gideon Franklin Ltd.
Summer 2022

In the summer of 2022 I was very fortunate to be given the chance to intern with Gideon Franklin Ltd., a corporate finance advisory firm specialising in Japanese inbound and outbound M&A. The placement was based in the company’s new office in Abingdon for three days a week spread over 3 weeks in August, and offered me a unique opportunity to experience firsthand the world of finance and Japan-related private sector careers. 

The work I undertook during the internship was interesting and highly varied, ranging from researching prospective acquisition targets for client companies to editing official presentations and assisting with administrative practicalities as the company set up its new office in Oxfordshire. At times the work demanded an understanding of various key concepts in corporate finance, all of which were introduced to me and my fellow intern through a series of comprehensive training sessions in the fundamentals of M&A, accounting and CRM conducted over the course of the month.

In tandem with completing these projects, we were also given a number of opportunities to meet several of Gideon’s professional colleagues. Including a trip to the House of Lords and Japan House London, these sessions provided an invaluable forum for us to discuss the wide range of expertise drawn on within Gideon Franklin Ltd., as well as to hear about their diverse careers and personal experiences in the industry. 

Overall the internship was an amazing opportunity to learn about the fascinating variety of specialisms and skills involved in M&A, as well as the increasing prominence of Japanese companies in this sector. Gideon and his colleagues were exceptionally generous with their time and expertise, prepared both to explain their various roles and clarify any points of uncertainty, as well as offer informal advice on possible postgraduate career paths. Moreover, the combination of training sessions and specific projects allowed us not only to learn about the various core skills required in this industry, including interpreting accounting data, managing spreadsheets and using key databases, but also to apply them practically in context. I leave Gideon Franklin ltd. enthused at the abundant career possibilities for graduates of Japanese Studies and with a far greater appreciation for and interest in the world of corporate finance. I would thoroughly recommend the internship to anyone looking to broaden their understanding in any of these areas.

Holly Webb
Gideon Franklin Ltd.
Summer 2021

I participated in a 3-week-long blended internship with Gideon Franklin Ltd from 6 September – 24 September 2021. I travelled to London 2-3 days a week and worked remotely from home. Gideon Franklin Ltd is a corporate finance advisory firm specialising in helping Japanese companies make global M&A transactions. The internship was not only an excellent opportunity to learn more about the world of M&A, but also discover the many career options you might have with a degree in Japanese. 

Having hardly touched maths since GCSE, I was a bit nervous about how I could cope with the financial parts of the job. However, there is no expectation that you should know anything beforehand and there is a comprehensive internship programme designed to teach you accounting, GDPA and M&A from the start so you get to grips with it very quickly. The programme included training and work related within the M&A field, but also includes many talks with professionals Gideon Franklin works with in many different fields to learn about their many different experiences in the world of work, as well as enjoyable off-site visits. 

My main tasks were to update an official presentation and research potential partner companies for clients. One of my projects took me to a networking event in York at the National Railway Museum. It was a great insight into how companies use networking events, and an opportunity to talk to recent graduates about how they got into their careers. We also visited Japan House London, where they have regularly updated Japanese exhibits. The exhibit this time was about the 1964 Summer Olympics; I highly recommend a visit if you get the chance. Gideon is very enthusiastic about giving interns a valuable insight into M&A and other possible career paths. We would have daily catchups to check if I needed any assistance and so he could give us updates on some of the projects he was working on while we were there. 

Gideon Franklin Ltd. Is a small but very supportive environment. I learned a lot of skills that can be transferred to other careers such as using excel calculations for income statements and balance sheets, data research and presenting skills. I also had the opportunity to teach some Japanese to an English colleague and see other practical application of Japanese in business. 

Overall, I had a very rewarding experience. I left feeling that I had a good foundational understanding of M&A and more optimistic about career opportunities after graduating. 

Helena Santos Aleman
Gideon Franklin Ltd.
Summer 2020

I was very lucky to undertake a month-long internship with Gideon Franklin Ltd. during September of 2020. It was not only a great experience, but also an example of the many opportunities that arose even amidst the pandemic and the change to working from home.

Gideon Franklin Ltd is a finance advisory firm which focuses particularly on Japan, helping companies both outside and within it bridge the logistical and cultural differences in each step of M&A transactions. Having had no experience in this field before, I was a little nervous at how I would adapt. However, these worries soon disappeared thanks to Gideon’s great team and the programme they set up for me.

My main task over the four weeks was to help produce an official presentation with the help of a supervisor whilst learning more about the many different processes involved in M&A. During the first week I had induction sessions on topics such as accounting, GDPA and the basics of M&A that would become useful in the following weeks as I was given more tasks. I also had the chance to speak to professionals from fields such as marketing and finance which allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of those areas and also gave me insight into many possible career paths. Gideon was kind enough to let met sit in on international calls when it was possible, some regarding the presentation project and others not, allowing me to have first-hand experience of how transactions pan out.

I felt very supported throughout the duration of the internship having daily check-ups to ensure I understood and was comfortable with the tasks I was being set. This environment helped me gain a number of useful skills, such as how to make a good presentation, fundamental knowledge on areas regarding M&A and how to work in a team. It was also very beneficial in terms of my degree, as I had opportunities to practice Japanese language and explore the effect cultural differences have on business.

Overall, my experience at Gideon Franklin Ltd was extremely rewarding. I left not only more knowledgeable about M&A but also more confident in my own abilities and the many possibilities a Japanese Studies degree offers.

Mary Stammers
Takahashi Seicha
Spring 2020

I applied for and took part in an internship for Takahashi Tea during March 2020, during the spring vacation of my year abroad. Spring holidays in Japan generally run from late January/early February to the start of April, making it a great time to do an internship during the break from university study. Mary, wearing a face mask and green apron has a yellow headscarf tied for her by a Takahashi Tea colleague. They are stood in the Takahashi Tea office

Takahashi Seicha is a small company, with about 10 employees, so it was a welcoming environment to work in. As an intern, I did a number of different activities during my time at the company- including translation, reports for the Facebook page, working on the farm and learning all about different types of tea and production methods in order to spread awareness of the business. In addition, I also got a chance to see how the company works in the community and in a business sense, attending community meetings and conferences.

The company itself is located near Usuki, in the countryside in Kyushu. During my internship, I did a homestay at the CEO’s house, which is located right next to the office, factory and tea fields. The family were extremely kind and also took me for various experiences- including flower arranging, a rickshaw tour, to a safari park and to a sushi restaurant. Usuki is quite a small area with relatively few visitors from abroad, which means my arrival made more of a stir than I was anticipating- photos of me visiting appeared on the local Stone Buddhas attraction website, a sake brewery website, a local pottery company Instagram, in a newspaper and on Takahashi Tea’s Facebook page.

Overall spending just over three weeks in a small community where everyone seems to know each other has been a very different experience from living in student dormitories in Tokyo- I certainly feel less anonymous! It was also a great chance to practice more Japanese- doing a homestay and working for a company means I’ve had a lot more exposure to the language than I usually get in the Hitotsubashi University international dorms. I’ve learnt a lot during my time here and had experiences I would not have been able to easily find elsewhere- I would definitely recommend taking part in one of the internship opportunities on the FAMES website. 

Norman Luk
Summer 2018

I completed the internship with Bebit, a Customer-Experience and Data Analytics company in Tokyo in 2018. My internship lasted from the 10th of July to the beginning of August.

I had a fascinating time living and working in a central part of Tokyo. My work is mainly research-based, which meant that I spent the majority of the office hours reading into law and regulations. In my case, I was tasked to look into data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the EU and China's Privacy Regulations, to prepare for the firm's future entry and consolidation in these growing markets. I also researched into Bebit's potential competitors in Asia and Europe, with the purpose to identify how a competitor's software has had more or less sophisticated features in comparison to Bebit's software. The findings would then be reported back to the friendly managing director twice or a week, where additional assignments would be given.

I am confident that through this internship, I have refined my research skills, looking into areas where I would never encounter in Cambridge. While my assignments mainly targeted my use of Chinese and English, I did have many opportunities to use spoken Japanese during the lunch hours. I strongly recommend any future intern from Cambridge to use the lunch hours with the full-time employees, to develop their fluency in the language. A side fact, I am aware that Bebit will be moving from Ichigaya (市ヶ谷)to an office building closer to Tokyo Station. This would only make it more convenient to commute.

Tessa Rizzoli
Summer 2018

I have had the unique opportunity to intern at CRAZY Inc. company based in Tokyo this summer. I have lived the most enriching two months of my life by far, days full of discoveries and experiences that words can hardly express. Tessa stands at the centre of a large group of her smiling CRAZY Inc. colleagues

I spent the first weeks of my internship carrying out research about global awards and different strategies employed by wedding companies around the world for their webpages. Though I used different languages to research, I always had to translate everything into Japanese. Throughout my internship, I was really happy to be able to discuss with a supervisor the work I was doing and whether I was happy with it. The instant I conveyed that I would have preferred not to do something that I could easily do from my room back in college, I was provided with a new plan, crafted on my wishes. As I result, I could engage with more manual work: I worked in the company’s kitchen, that allowed me to learn about Japanese healthy food and its preparation, as well as in CRAZY’s art team, preparing the decorations and objects for the weddings. I sometimes attended seminars where I was asked to share my opinion; I got to attend CRAZY special weddings almost weekly and worked as a member of staff there; I helped to set up tables for different events, welcomed the people at the reception and in turn got to listen to a wealth of different interesting talks; I was even able to participate in a trip to Nebamura, a countryside village, and collaborated with a project that aimed at renovating centenary old houses; on that trip I got to know the CRAZY people better and after the hard work under the sunshine, we went to the waterfalls and even to Japanese hot springs together.

As a student of Japanese, I was really happy with how much working at CRAZY allowed me to practice the language. From being in the office where people answered phone calls in high formal Japanese, to being told about different cutting methods in the kitchen, I learnt more Japanese than in two years of textbook exercise. One of the best moments to practice Japanese was during lunch time, when we ate all together, both on normal days when we often engaged with cultural talks, but also when there were some guests and we all had to introduce ourselves and talk about our experiences within the company over and over again. Another brilliant moment for practice was after lunch when we had some discussion/share time.

I learnt how to give presentations in Japanese; talk in front of a big audience; deal with the customers at a wedding and understand what it takes to prepare a wedding from scratch. Attending weddings, besides listening practice, was great cultural experience and it also allowed me to move to different parts of Tokyo and even outside.

Even though I was the first intern from abroad that CRAZY ever welcomed, I had a really valuable experience, met wonderful people I know I will keep in touch with also during my year abroad and I could explore Japanese culture deeper, from different perspectives and every single day. During my internship, I also had the privilege to stay with the best host family I could have ever wished for, that made it all even more brilliant! 

If you would like to intern at CRAZY, you should be prepared for a warm environment, lots of hand shaking, the possibility to try out different tasks, a lot of Japanese talking and delicious lunch. A lot of times you will be struck by different opinions, and might ponder on why you are only allowed to stir the rice in a certain direction or you have to position things in a certain way on the wedding table because you are told that ‘it is the Japanese way’. But when you go to Rome you just do as Romans do. If you go to CRAZY just do as CRAZY people do.

More than anything else, I loved the great sense of community of the CRAZY people, quite similar to the beautiful sense of community we have at Emma, my college back in Cambridge. I got so used to CRAZY life that I am afraid to go back to Europe even if just for six days, because I will realise that I have lived a dream.

I am so grateful for the brilliant chance I have had and would like to take the opportunity to thank Professor Adolphson for instituting this. I am also forever thankful to all of the CRAZY people that welcomed me and shaped this unforgettable experience that goes well above and beyond imagination.

Video the CRAZY people have made for me: